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Nfl Judging Reform

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I'm glad we were able to resolve the hostility in this thread without having to resort to a fistfight in the JC Penny parking lot. That would have been unfortunate.

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I'll start off by saying that my opinion has changed dramatically on this issue during my time debating. Why I feel like commenting I have no idea, but I'm going to throw my 2 cents out there nonetheless.

 

 

I guess Wes deleted his post, although I'm not entirely sure why. What he says is 1. factually correct, although that is probably partially due to J-rod's post being after nfl and not wanting to discuss cfl changes. 2. Is pretty accurate on the whole, although I think it could be applied to many more people than just BVW. Instead of scapegoating him, and applying your holier than thou attitudes, it would be better to do something else, or at the very least, not be so condescending about it. I appreciate your genuineness, if that's a word, dude.

 

Now for the substantive portion of this discussion

 

I'm going to add this as well. We need to institute a permanent moratorium on the following:

 

1. School A brings debaters' parents as their school judges.

2. Debaters from school A are eliminated from the qualifier, and they and their coaches immediately blame the loss on having been judged by other schools' parent judges.

 

Every year, every qualifying tournament, it's the same story. And it's very much a world's-smallest-violin situation.

 

Bring the sort of judges you'd want to be judged by. If you don't do so, don't complain about the judging pool, ever.

 

Most importantly this^. If you recruit "better" judges there will be pressures exerted on those schools who aren't, so attempting to make people conform will only be easier as you yourself try to improve the judging pool for them. School X won't want to recruit good judges for you if you recruit "shitty" judges for them.

 

 

 

First of all, debate is a communicative activity. The goal is to persuade the judge to vote for you, not the flow. To me, this means the problem to solve is not about the judging pool but instead how debaters adapt to the judges they have in the back of the room. I am not saying that debaters who prefer flow can’t and didn’t win lay judges, I am saying that maybe if debaters spent more time in the state or more time focusing on lay debate as well as flow debate, they could more consistently win lay rounds and probably qualify out of NFL.

 

Second, I am not sure why debaters seem to glorify flow debate or flow judges. A “flow judge†is, by definition, just someone who flows the round. A “flow judge†is not necessarily the most objective judge or even the smartest judge. In college, I have seen panels of three, highly qualified, extremely smart debaters who arrive at their conclusions for completely different reasons. They all have tight flows but they still perceived the debate differently. I have had judges’ decisions about who won/speaker points influenced by how they personally feel about an argument i.e. we gave an argument they hate too much credit in how we answered it and consequently took a speaker point hit. My point in all of this is that, flow judges are not perfect. I am a flow judge and I know that I am not the best judge for certain styles of debate because of my personal opinions about the activity.

 

 

Fourth, Amanda and I were talking about how the qualifier should try to be close to the national tournament in terms of the judging pool. It was said on this thread earlier that “judges flow at NFL nationals.†Well, some of them do. For those who have never gone to nationals in policy, you get two judges in the back of the room and they are frequently two judges with entirely different backgrounds and philosophies. In one round, I picked up a ballot from a woman who did not flow, did not take notes, and said, “I just thought you were incredibly persuasive. I don’t know the mechanics of debate, but I believed what you said because of how you said it.†In that same round, I picked up a ballot from someone whose decision included mostly debate jargon. This person flowed. It should be noted that, if I remember correctly, this was actually one of my elim rounds. I don’t remember the third judge which either means I am wrong it was an elim round or maybe I just remember the first two because of how different they were in nature. Now, someone may be able to say that they had all flow judges at NFL Nationals. If so, that only strengthens my point that people NEED to be prepared for all types of rounds because NFL has a diverse judging pool. The only reason I was able to win my speaker award is because I was able to adapt and I owe that success to my district where I was forced to adapt. My senior year at NFL qualifiers I had a round with six off in it and another round where parents had minimal judging experience.

 

Fifth, I also think there is much to be said about the idea that debaters should just recruit the judges they want so badly. I understand that you don’t think there is an incentive to recruit good judges who can’t judge you, but as some of you have stated, this isn’t a bitter discussion about making YOUR experience better but rather about improving the experience for everyone. I don’t know if there is anything that can be done about when this tournament takes place, but I really wish I could have judged. Unfortunately, it’s a three hour drive for me that I don’t have time to make the weekend before finals. Maybe if this tournament was moved to a weekend that didn’t clash so much with most college schedules, more flow judges could attend.

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly, I agree a lot with sam about this idea of judging reform, specifically where I've noted. For me, the most annoying thing is having three judges with completely different experience levels; removing the ability for this to happen would greatly enhance the ability to adapt, and make the round engaging for all three judges. I think the idea that a judge needing to flow every word you said to know what's going on frankly laughable. Generally, the most open-minded people, as far as judging is concerned, are those who have no experience judging whatsoever. For example, I won a lay round on the spanos empire k my sophomore year, and have won other rounds on similarly counter-intuitive arguments. It can only help the activity if a greater portion of people have positive experiences with debate and are engaged with the activity, in terms of funding etc. I'd rather have this person than n00b debater who participated in open for two years, and hates large portions of arguments. The amount of experience someone has in debate really doesn't matter that much; If you're good at explaining arguments you should be able to convince anyone to vote for it, regardless of experience level. Furthermore, even though I think on average the debate community is pretty smart, there are some real idiots that call themselves "flow" yet may garbage decisions round after round. My point is that intelligence and readiness to vote on what is discussed in the round is the most important feature of judging rather than experience level. And to answer future posts, no, just because they haven't judged before doesn't mean someone will intervene, you once again should just explain why that practice is bad.

So from ^this, it is simple to see that for me, there isn't a huge issue in this aspect.

 

I'll cosign what Amanda is saying about first year-out judges, I think that distinction is really good when in the context of going to a national tournament and extending your season the stakes are much, much higher, and added perspective gained from not judging seems beneficial.

 

As far as other judging restrictions, I think it should be the same as other tournaments, can't judge them if you were on the same team, coached them, etc. Changing the weekends of the qualifiers, though, is a pretty good idea, if you want to have the type of desired judges.

 

I think a lot of you all are saying this because your pissed off because you didn't qualify, and that's fair, I wish you hadn't done it in public, but whatever I guess. Along the same lines, I really wish this discussion had been put off, so that some of the emotions people have from their weekends would dissipate, but unfortunately that's not the case.

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Hi all, I wanted to echo congrats to all the qualifiers. I’ve had my own fair share of frustration with this system (that I have both been benefited by as well as let down by), but I’m also relieved that our state continually does well at nationals and am genuinely happy and excited to see everyone represent Kansas this year :)

 

I think the main source of the antagonism is from a fundamental disagreement in what we believe to be the purpose of this activity, so obviously we will have differing opinions on what we perceive to be best for it.

 

However, even with that said, the main issue with the NFL qualifiers, in my opinion, seems to be its [consistent] inconsistency in what it rewards (regardless of which style of debate you advocate). This stems largely from a judging pool that is very unpredictable and that includes an extremely wide range of judges in terms of experience.

 

While I’d be a strong advocate of MPJ or even a coach voting system that elects a set of “first round†teams (this was suggested during last year’s post-NFL qualifier discussion), there are some structural barriers from national rules. I wanted to present an alternative solution that may reduce the extent of the problem while avoiding the red tape from national NFL rules:

 

Cap entries. NFL has the 4 team limit, but there are no rules preventing schools from sending less. The methods for this could be 1) each school can only send their top 2 teams (in recent history, I don’t recall an instance where the top 3 or 4 finishers at the qualifier were from the same school) or 2) the KS coaches/community create a “non-official†requirement for teams to attend the qualifier (e.g. DCI qualification).

 

The only disadvantage to this idea is that it reduces the number of qualifiers in most cases from 3 to 2, but this would resolve instances where schools simply complete the competition pool by sending maximum teams possible, which also necessitates dilution of the judging pool with 2 more judges for each of those teams. It should be noted that I honestly think this is a solution to the problem and that I actually am disincentivized to say this as it would mean that I probably would not have qualified my junior year. It may, however, resolve Amanda’s dissatisfaction after the qualifiers when she debated. Nonetheless, I think qualifying 2 teams with a more desirable judging pool would be preferred over qualifying 3 teams where the process is more unpredictable (especially if the reduced competition pool resulted in substantially reducing desperate attempts to recruit non-experienced parents to fulfill judging requirements for the large pool). I’m interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on this.

 

On some other portions of this discussion:

 

Changing NFL qualifier dates – I think this is also a very reasonable solution that resolves the issue of desirable judges being overstretched on the same weekend. Would moving qualifiers to after the state tournament conflict with KSHSAA rules? If not, that is a plausible option. If it does conflict, the other option would be spreading the qualifiers throughout the “regular season,†but this would conflict with other DCI tournaments and potentially exacerbate another issue that is being discussed on the bidtracker about too many qualifiers if the top teams from a district don’t attend a bid tournament for 5 weekends.

 

Freshman judges – I think they’re still more experienced and can decide more objectively than parents who are new to the activity. Amanda raises an important issue, but I’m not sure that her concerns are about the nature of being a freshman or simply from certain relationships or biases that would still exist for sophomores and older. If a judge feels uncomfortable about objectively judging a certain round, that can be easily fixed, but I don’t think it justifies eliminating all freshman from the pool (e.g. Sean Duff who was used as an example above).

 

Modeling the national tournament – From my own experience, I only had flow rounds at nationals, especially in rounds 7-10 (including 2 non-traditional/critical debates). Even while there exists a pool ranging from college debaters to judges who prefer slow rounds, there were not any "non-experienced parents" from what I saw at least. It is certainly not a “lay†tournament, and recent finalists who have also been teams with the most TOC bids are a good indicator of this (Greenhill, Iowa City West, College Prep, GBS, Damien).

 

Samantha’s post – Sam raises the importance of debate as a communication activity and being able to adapt. While I still personally prefer an experienced college debater over a parent, I think adaptation as a skill is fine as long as it’s consistent. Many times, including the round I was eliminated in last year, included a parent with no experience, a flay judge with little college experience, and a more experienced “high-flow†judge. Round-by-round adaptation, which I think what Sam is talking about, is distinct from having to debate in front of 3 different people at the same time with different judging preferences. Obviously eliminating panels resolves this issue, but I think the benefits of a panel may outweigh the need for this. However, alternative solutions that result in a more similar/predictable judge pool resolve this. And while I agree that even “flow†judges aren’t perfect, I still think we should strive to reduce non-experienced judges who have a greater potential to make decisions that are not as objective as an experienced judge. Is that wrong?

 

On a side note, I’m happy to see my peers who are out of high school engaging in these discussions. I feel indebted to Kansas debate for everything it gave me, and if I was closer, I would love to remain involved in the community and judge tournaments frequently.

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I'll start off by saying that my opinion has changed dramatically on this issue during my time debating. Why I feel like commenting I have no idea, but I'm going to throw my 2 cents out there nonetheless. I guess Wes deleted his post, although I'm not entirely sure why. What he says is 1. factually correct, although that is probably partially due to J-rod's post being after nfl and not wanting to discuss cfl changes. 2. Is pretty accurate on the whole, although I think it could be applied to many more people than just BVW. Instead of scapegoating him, and applying your holier than thou attitudes, it would be better to do something else, or at the very least, not be so condescending about it. I appreciate your genuineness, if that's a word, dude. Now for the substantive portion of this discussion Most importantly this^. If you recruit "better" judges there will be pressures exerted on those schools who aren't, so attempting to make people conform will only be easier as you yourself try to improve the judging pool for them. School X won't want to recruit good judges for you if you recruit "shitty" judges for them. Surprisingly, I agree a lot with sam about this idea of judging reform, specifically where I've noted. For me, the most annoying thing is having three judges with completely different experience levels; removing the ability for this to happen would greatly enhance the ability to adapt, and make the round engaging for all three judges. I think the idea that a judge needing to flow every word you said to know what's going on frankly laughable. Generally, the most open-minded people, as far as judging is concerned, are those who have no experience judging whatsoever. For example, I won a lay round on the spanos empire k my sophomore year, and have won other rounds on similarly counter-intuitive arguments. It can only help the activity if a greater portion of people have positive experiences with debate and are engaged with the activity, in terms of funding etc. I'd rather have this person than n00b debater who participated in open for two years, and hates large portions of arguments. The amount of experience someone has in debate really doesn't matter that much; If you're good at explaining arguments you should be able to convince anyone to vote for it, regardless of experience level. Furthermore, even though I think on average the debate community is pretty smart, there are some real idiots that call themselves "flow" yet may garbage decisions round after round. My point is that intelligence and readiness to vote on what is discussed in the round is the most important feature of judging rather than experience level. And to answer future posts, no, just because they haven't judged before doesn't mean someone will intervene, you once again should just explain why that practice is bad. So from ^this, it is simple to see that for me, there isn't a huge issue in this aspect. I'll cosign what Amanda is saying about first year-out judges, I think that distinction is really good when in the context of going to a national tournament and extending your season the stakes are much, much higher, and added perspective gained from not judging seems beneficial. As far as other judging restrictions, I think it should be the same as other tournaments, can't judge them if you were on the same team, coached them, etc. Changing the weekends of the qualifiers, though, is a pretty good idea, if you want to have the type of desired judges. I think a lot of you all are saying this because your pissed off because you didn't qualify, and that's fair, I wish you hadn't done it in public, but whatever I guess. Along the same lines, I really wish this discussion had been put off, so that some of the emotions people have from their weekends would dissipate, but unfortunately that's not the case.

 

I'd like to start by saying this: My motivation for this post came from my own personal disappointments from weekend. That being said, everything I've suggested so far would make the qualifier a better experience for everyone, no matter what form of debate style you prefer.

 

Secondly, I agree that there is an educational value to being persuasive, and the ability to adapt is a skill that everyone should learn. In fact, I think Owen and I are very good at adapting. I think if you asked anyone we debated this weekend, we can adapt to parents, flay judges, and especially flow judges. That being said, I find it extremely diffuclt to adapt to a panel with a high "flow" judge, a judge who debated 4 years in Open, and a mom who has never judged a round before. Is it possible? Absolutely, I've done it myself, and several succesful debaters like Sam, Danny and MacKenzie, and i'm sure other teams, have done so before. But I don't think this should be the preferred style of paneling.

 

I think at the very least, there should be some consistency among the panel in any given round, even if the round-to-round panels change dramatically. My problem is not with "lay debaters" or parents who have never judged a round before. I find myself more than capable of picking up their ballots and winning those rounds; I just think that giving debaters a little control over who does and doesn't judge them would allow a little more consistency of panels.

 

I also agree that moving the NFL qualifier date would allow a larger and more diverse judging pool. Are the dates set by NFL, or can districts change the weekend of their qualifier? Would it be possible even to make the qualifier after state?

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We seem to be ignoring the most urgently needed rule change: allowing cell phone use between rounds. My mom really enjoys getting frequent updates.

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Round-by-round adaptation, which I think what Sam is talking about, is distinct from having to debate in front of 3 different people at the same time with different judging preferences.

 

Just to be clear, I think having to debate in front of people with different judging preferences is a good thing. If you have a lay judge, a "flay" judge (didn't know that was a term), and a flow judge... just debate in a way that is clear for the lay judge. This will be challenging, yes, but will teach you how to communicate to most people without sacrificing substance. The other two judges won't vote you down for speaking slowly. Also, since there seems to be a general consensus that modeling the national tournament is a good thing, this kind of adaptation is crucial because like I said, NFL Nationals frequently puts two VERY different judges in the back of the room. Anyway, just wanted it to be understood that I think having to adapt from a flow round to a lay round is important, but so is having to debate to different judges in the same round.

 

NFL can be as consistent as you make it. It all comes down to the ability to adapt. Having control of your judges is a fine goal, just not one I ever had when I was in high school. I also urge everyone who is seeking to achieve this goal to still focus on adaptation because, even if NFL is reformed, most tournaments in Kansas are still going to provide the judges the tournament host wants to provide.

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A few points of clarification:

 

1. You can't host NFL after State. That is a firm KSHSAA rule that has zero chance of changing.

 

2. This whole idea of capping entries is baffling to me. If you did this pretty much every district would only qualify 2. I don't get why this is better than the SQ, AT ALL.

 

I'm kind of meh on the Freshman thing. Sunflower has allowed Freshmen on day 1 for well over a decade, and it seems to work for them. I guess I'm not against it, I just think that the knee jerk reaction from a lot of coaches is going to be to say no. I can see both sides of this.

 

Sam is 100% correct. While it is interesting to entertain the hypotheticals, the chances of anything changing are pretty low. The current system is certainly not optimal, but it is the same for everyone. Also, it has been this way for decades (ever since speed and contemporary debate became a thing). Adapt. Survive and advance.

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Some perspective from EK...

 

1 - MPJ is, as others have said, a non-starter. Even if NFL didn't forbid such a practice, I think you'd be fighting an uphill battle to get the coaches and/or committee in your district to vote for it. EK uses anonymized judge cards and a fairly complex system of rules we designed to maximize the chances that all of our judges can get to judge a round, and that no one just sits all day because Joy of Tournaments decided it doesn't like them. Your district could explore a similar system; NFL would probably be down with anything that keeps judges anonymous. That means you probably can't do anything like assign an "experience score" or anything like that (and good luck, by the way, getting your coaches to agree on what a "good" or "experienced" judge looks like).

 

2 - The rule excluding judges of a particular age is a district decision. EK excludes you for two years after graduation. The reason for this is that we have a very tight-knit community, and we don't necessarily want to put teams or judges in a situation where they may perceive a biased decision. It's a philosophical decision, but I'll grant you that it reduces the number of available, willing judges who have previous experience as competitors in the activity. If the coaches in your district believe that this is a problem, they are empowered to change that rule.

 

3 - The rule that all school-recruited judges are banned from that school is, again, up to the district. In EK, we completely eliminated the community judge pool at our qualifiers a few years ago. This has, I think, a few advantages - (1) more schools are willing to host, (2) each school brings their best several judges on Friday instead of one school having to dig up dozens, (3) the tournament is less likely to take on the philosophy of the host coach, creating a more consistent experience from year to year. Of course, we have the advantage of a very dense geography. Three Trails could probably pull this off. I suspect it's not a viable option for our friends to the west. However, to speak to the primary point, we do still ban judges at the policy tournament from the school who recruited them.

 

4 - The calendar is tough. CFL keeps us off the first weekend in December, and regionals keeps us off the third one. There just aren't really enough weeks in the season. KSHSAA won't let us debate after the state tournament, so that's not an option either. You'd basically need to get the KSHSAA coaches to vote to return to the old regionals/state calendar, which would then give us two December weekends to spread out our six tournaments. I don't think, though, that there's much appetite for that. The original reason for moving regionals dealt with complications from weather when the tournaments were too close together.

 

At the end of the day, I think there are reasonable changes within your district which you could advocate for, if you think there is a significant problem which merits our attention. Unlike our threads on the 500-mile rule and things at the KSHSAA level, these questions are mostly dealt with at a low enough level that your coach can effect change in the way your district tournaments are carried out.

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Some perspective from EK...

 

3 - The rule that all school-recruited judges are banned from that school is, again, up to the district. In EK, we completely eliminated the community judge pool at our qualifiers a few years ago. This has, I think, a few advantages - (1) more schools are willing to host, (2) each school brings their best several judges on Friday instead of one school having to dig up dozens, (3) the tournament is less likely to take on the philosophy of the host coach, creating a more consistent experience from year to year. Of course, we have the advantage of a very dense geography. Three Trails could probably pull this off. I suspect it's not a viable option for our friends to the west. However, to speak to the primary point, we do still ban judges at the policy tournament from the school who recruited them.

 

 

This is interesting. How many judges per entry does a EK school have to provide?

 

I could see eliminating the community pool being an interesting solution. Especially if you combine it with a system where you either don't panel the first 2 rounds or allow freshman on day 1. This could keep your pool clean(er) and somewhat solve for the idle judge problem.

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There have been several suggestions to attempt to change the NFL National Qualifiers. Some are okay, but most seem to risk violating hirer priorities. For example:

 

Bringing less than 4 teams: This would decrease the number of teams getting to go. So there are 6-7 teams per district that would be excellent representitives at nationals. We currently get half of that. Instead we'd get a third. This would only increase frustration. The obvious solution would be to increase the number who get to go, not decrease it. We can increase the number by having more participation, not less.

 

Not panelling rounds. So you'd have only one person deciding your fate, not three? Again, counter to the goal. The more people in the back of the room the more you average out the extremes in voting.

 

Qualifiers on different weekends. The several districts in Kansas host the weekend they do for logistical reasons. You can't host after State. No one wants to host while students are out of school or busy with finals/finals prep. So the qualifiers are the latest in the season they can be. You really can only move them up. So who wants to have their qualifier in November so they have less tournaments to get better at and miss out on a quality invitational? So the best teams of Flint Hills are unavailable for the West/East weekend? Or the best teams of Three Trails are unavailable at T-High or KCKCC? Sure that could be done, but why? And they'd still lose "quality" judges who are judging at the invitationals instead.

 

Strike system - sure, you can do 5 judges and strike 2. That means you will have at minimum 2 extra judges per round per number of debates going on. So if there are 40 teams, that is 20 rooms, and that is 40 judges that can't get used. Remember all the rounds are scheduled at the same time. I guess you could use judges who were struck to populate the panel for other rounds, but then those debaters would have a right to claim they got other team's leftovers. That would be even more minipulative and cause for more people's feelings to get hurt.

 

Freshman judges - Anyone really want a situation in which they are being judged by someone they beat last year? If you do you have more faith in 18 and 19 year olds than I do. Bias is really hard for anyone to overcome, so why tempt it?

 

Modelling the judge pool for Nationals - a good priority. How do we get coaches and assistant coaches from Texas, California, and the East Coast to judge at our several district tournaments? My point is that the pool at nationals will be different because it is nationals. It is the only tournament in the nation that weekend. It requires travel for almost everyone. It is a commitment. And it is schools who have already qualified to get there. You will get a different pool because it is a different draw. There are a lot of coaches who judge, but coaches don't judge at the qualifiers because they are running the tournament. And you really don't want issues of bias when it comes to the head coach of one school judging the kids who just knocked out his/her best team. The demographics and size of nationals just doesn't translate. A worthy goal, but nearly impossible.

 

 

 

At the end of the day, our state is really good at policy debate and thus there will always be really good teams who don't qualify. Trust me, we know. I had a team take second in the nation after NOT QUALIFYING. That same year the team that had previously taken 5th in the nation didn't qualify. Every year there are good teams that don't qualify. Are the qualifiers perfect? No. But it has more to do with us having too many quality teams. Imagine EK and TT didn't split or Sunflower and SK were together. Unless you are saying there are kids qualifying who shouldn't, you are saying we just have too many good teams and not enough slots to send them all. And per our population as a state, we send more than anyone. It is heartbreaking to not qualify, but we know there will always be those who are disappointed. I'm not sure any change we make to the qualifiers would make them perfect and eliminate someone thinking of what could have been.

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This is interesting. How many judges per entry does a EK school have to provide?

 

I could see eliminating the community pool being an interesting solution. Especially if you combine it with a system where you either don't panel the first 2 rounds or allow freshman on day 1. This could keep your pool clean(er) and somewhat solve for the idle judge problem.

 

We still panel all rounds. On Friday, if you have a full entry of 4 teams, you are obligated for 7 judges through those first three rounds (we guarantee a consolation round for the down-and-out on Friday evening). That number drops to 4 on Saturday morning, and 2 on Saturday afternoon.

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Look, this thread is slightly off in its motives. Having read some of the earlier posts, it seems to me like it is a complaint of not qualifying. When you say having team A qualify raises some eyebrows you are saying that they shouldn't have qualified. Simple as that. It shows that you think they are not that good because we have to assume that the reason that they qualified was based on judge inexperience. While I don't completely agree with Sam that lay is as good as flow, you do have to adapt. I think that is what is so special about Kansas debate. I will have to say this generally to BVW but this applies to others, your behavior at the qualifier was not acceptable, nor was the timing of this thread. Let the people who qualified have their moment.

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Strike system - sure, you can do 5 judges and strike 2. That means you will have at minimum 2 extra judges per round per number of debates going on. So if there are 40 teams, that is 20 rooms, and that is 40 judges that can't get used. Remember all the rounds are scheduled at the same time. I guess you could use judges who were struck to populate the panel for other rounds, but then those debaters would have a right to claim they got other team's leftovers. That would be even more minipulative and cause for more people's feelings to get hurt.

 

Freshman judges - Anyone really want a situation in which they are being judged by someone they beat last year? If you do you have more faith in 18 and 19 year olds than I do. Bias is really hard for anyone to overcome, so why tempt it?

 

I actually think that these would be fairly easy changes to implement, without degrading the quality of the tournament. Your argument about the pre-round strikes does make a lot of sense, but pre-tournament strikes seem to be the best remedy to this. Does anyone familiar with running an NFL qualifier with the Joy of Tournaments software know if this is possible? I know that at other tournaments that use JoT, we were allowed both strikes and prefs--Is there an NFL/TTNFL rule against pre-tournament strikes?

 

Secondly, I don't think bias is something only freshmen have. I know that I burned a lot of bridges my sophomore and junior year debating in Kansas, but I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who would drop me in a round, especially at a tournament like a national qualifier. I'm sure a lot of coaches openly dislike me for some things I used to do, but that certainly doesn't stop them from judging me any other tournament (Even a tournament like State, which to me, means more than going to Nationals). And does waiting a year really prevent any bias? I'm still friendly with a lot of sophomores in college. I debated (badly) at DCI tournaments my sophomore year with a people like Amanda, Ciera, Darshan, etc., why does waiting a year automatically qualify them to judge me? Also, these type of blanket rules prevent really good judges (see the Sean Duff example above) from judging me, even though I may or may not even know the judge.

 

Third, here's a question for TTNFL coaches, or perhaps those with knowledge as to how the TTNFL operates: When and how are these rules decided? Can suggestions be given by students, or do coaches of schools have to propose these types of changes?

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Look, this thread is slightly off in its motives. Having read some of the earlier posts, it seems to me like it is a complaint of not qualifying. When you say having team A qualify raises some eyebrows you are saying that they shouldn't have qualified. Simple as that. It shows that you think they are not that good because we have to assume that the reason that they qualified was based on judge inexperience. While I don't completely agree with Sam that lay is as good as flow, you do have to adapt. I think that is what is so special about Kansas debate. I will have to say this generally to BVW but this applies to others, your behavior at the qualifier was not acceptable, nor was the timing of this thread. Let the people who qualified have their moment.

 

How does allowing freshmen to judge and implementing a strike system favor one type of school?

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How does allowing freshmen to judge and implementing a strike system favor one type of school?

 

 

No no, I apologize, I was talking about the reason for the beginning of the thread. I don't think those ideas are good for many reasons, but not favoring one type of school.

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Just to be clear, I think having to debate in front of people with different judging preferences is a good thing. If you have a lay judge, a "flay" judge (didn't know that was a term), and a flow judge... just debate in a way that is clear for the lay judge. This will be challenging, yes, but will teach you how to communicate to most people without sacrificing substance. The other two judges won't vote you down for speaking slowly.

 

This is the only part of your post I disagree with. I've empirically had pretty good success with these "Lay, flay, flow" panels, but they're the most random way possible to decide a debate round. While I have no qualms with lay judges or their numbers at the qualifier tournaments, there needs to be some organization in terms of what types of judges are on each panel.

 

For instance, I had a panel this weekend that consisted of two college debaters and some kid's mom. We prayed the Lord would forgive us for the horror we were about to subject the mother to, and proceeded to speed each of our speeches, winning the round on a 2-1. Not only does the inconsistency of this panel make the round difficult for the debaters, I highly doubt that the mother will ever judge again.

 

This problem only becomes worse when the panel is "lay, flay, flow" instead of "lay, flow, flow". Winning this sort of round is not as simple as slowing down without sacrificing substance (as you posit). Each judge (especially the experienced ones) will carry some sort of bias with them into the round. Although there are ways to attempt to strategically manipulate each judge into voting for you, chances are you're going to piss off one or more of them by not adapting specifically to their paradigm.

 

As alluded to above, these inconsistent panels create two problems:

 

1. Difficulty of adapting/randomness of decisions

2. Alienation of judges

 

In order to at least quell the effects of these problems I suggest the following:

 

1. As Mr. Dubois suggested, bring the type of judges you want to be judged by. If you desperately want to be judged by college debaters, don't bring your grandmother. Also, don't try to cheap-shot other schools by bringing judges who are known for making erratic decisions. (Yes, this is a problem.)

2. Perhaps the judges could be organized using some sort of tier system (based on experience/number of rounds judged). Each panel would be comprised of three judges from the same tier. This virtually eliminates bizarre panels while preserving the importance of skills like speaking to lay judges.

 

Thoughts?

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No no, I apologize, I was talking about the reason for the beginning of the thread. I don't think those ideas are good for many reasons, but not favoring one type of school.

 

I don't know how you think I acted at the qualifier, but I guess I wasn't enough of a graceful loser. If you have a problem with the suggestions I proposed, then post them. Don't blame it on my "behavior at the qualifier", because quite frankly, I didn't do anything and it doesn't matter.

 

Coaches like Mr. Fowler, Mr. Skoglund, and Mr. Dubois, past debaters like Ciera, Amanda, Ideen, and Sam, and current debaters like Sarah, Zach, and myself are all offering suggestions that we think would make Kansas debate better. If you think allowing freshmen to judge, or implementing a strike system would have radically altered what happened at the qualifier this weekend, then say so. Don't make broad generalizations about what I did or didn't do at the qualifier.

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I don't know how you think I acted at the qualifier, but I guess I wasn't enough of a graceful loser. If you have a problem with the suggestions I proposed, then post them. Don't blame it on my "behavior at the qualifier", because quite frankly, I didn't do anything and it doesn't matter.

 

Just to let you know, Mr. Nelson, I actually wasn't talking about you

 

Here is why strikes are bad:

They waste time (that's actually small though). They are mostly bad because they don't allow for the "game" situation. They let you not have to debate for the judge that you need to debate for. The replacements might not be better. Also, if you are assigned two lays and a flow, the chances of the strikes resulting in two flows and a lay is better. NFL reserve judges work that way.

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Fantastic thread. Thank you all for your thoughtful and mature contributions. I have a couple of general comments:

 

1. I am glad that it has been mentioned that Mr. D is one of the best and most diligent people in recruiting judges. He keeps track of judges and e-mails them well in advance to inquire about availability and interest. He has his debaters ask for judges to participate. I think his efforts are great and I am sure is appreciated by all participants and the hardcore debate fans such as myself.

 

2. Eastern Kansas seems to be the most reasonable way to take care of judges, those are great suggestions and I like that the host school does not have the burden of filling the pool, which has to be one of the crappy responsibilities of all time.

 

3. This is my supposition (I don't have a card for this) but part of the issue is having fresh judges. I judged at Three Trails on Friday and Sunflower on Saturday and I got a total of 5 rounds which is better than sitting all day Saturday which happens most of the previous years I have judged at one location. It seems like the computer rewards people that maybe stop by to judge a couple of rounds and then leave. Similarly if you pay the college flow to fulfill one of your commitments that judge will sit. Since most of the more qualified/desired/high flow hired judges are hired for the day the intent of them judging more rounds rarely happens.

 

4. NFL qualifier date is a great time to get college debaters as its not up against the college circuit tournaments. It is great to see the support of the college debaters as I saw many Kansas, ESU, Kansas State and Wichita State debaters helping. Chief sent a van of debaters and coaches to Sunflower which I think goes above and beyond. I think the college debate participation is key and is what makes the Kansas teams so good at the regional and national level. It would be nice to be able to leverage the college community even more in the future.

 

This activity is awesome and has done so much for me, I feel it important to give back. I am honored and privileged to be among so many smart and talented people on the fall weekends and spares me from hanging out with most embeciles that you may encounter in your day to day. That being said I see a bunch of prospective adjudicators in this thread that should make themselves available in future NFL tournaments. If we have more people giving back to KS debate this issue may resolve itself.

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I actually think that these would be fairly easy changes to implement, without degrading the quality of the tournament. Your argument about the pre-round strikes does make a lot of sense, but pre-tournament strikes seem to be the best remedy to this. Does anyone familiar with running an NFL qualifier with the Joy of Tournaments software know if this is possible? I know that at other tournaments that use JoT, we were allowed both strikes and prefs--Is there an NFL/TTNFL rule against pre-tournament strikes?

 

I don't know if the software enables it or not but it wouldn't be a massive adjustment to do it manually. I think the district chair may have permitted strikes this year--I don't know for certain because STA didn't use any. I would point out that pre-tournament strikes are almost always used against experienced judges whom the school in question doesn't care for--this is not a regulation that is likely to produce a more experienced pool or a pool that more closely replicates the judges at NFL nationals.

 

Third, here's a question for TTNFL coaches, or perhaps those with knowledge as to how the TTNFL operates: When and how are these rules decided? Can suggestions be given by students, or do coaches of schools have to propose these types of changes?

 

Rules are discussed at the fall meeting and via email throughout the year. Only head coaches have input. This thread represents an opportunity to persuade TTNFL head coaches to propose specific reforms. I offer no guarantees that anyone will be persuaded, as well as the caveat that change of this sort tends to occur very slowly, but I suspect that I'm not the only one listening.

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I actually think that these would be fairly easy changes to implement, without degrading the quality of the tournament. Your argument about the pre-round strikes does make a lot of sense, but pre-tournament strikes seem to be the best remedy to this. Does anyone familiar with running an NFL qualifier with the Joy of Tournaments software know if this is possible? I know that at other tournaments that use JoT, we were allowed both strikes and prefs--Is there an NFL/TTNFL rule against pre-tournament strikes?

 

Secondly, I don't think bias is something only freshmen have. I know that I burned a lot of bridges my sophomore and junior year debating in Kansas, but I can't think of anyone off the top of my head who would drop me in a round, especially at a tournament like a national qualifier. I'm sure a lot of coaches openly dislike me for some things I used to do, but that certainly doesn't stop them from judging me any other tournament (Even a tournament like State, which to me, means more than going to Nationals). And does waiting a year really prevent any bias? I'm still friendly with a lot of sophomores in college. I debated (badly) at DCI tournaments my sophomore year with a people like Amanda, Ciera, Darshan, etc., why does waiting a year automatically qualify them to judge me? Also, these type of blanket rules prevent really good judges (see the Sean Duff example above) from judging me, even though I may or may not even know the judge.

 

Third, here's a question for TTNFL coaches, or perhaps those with knowledge as to how the TTNFL operates: When and how are these rules decided? Can suggestions be given by students, or do coaches of schools have to propose these types of changes?

 

EKNFL allows a pre-tournament strike system. It had to be approved by the national office. They will not likely approve a system for judging preference, but if you were to model the EKNFL format I can't see how that would be rejected.

 

It is not without flaws. While I'm only speculating what happens in the closed room, I have reason to believe the strikes are based largely on name recognition. So the most known names get struck the most. And if the team you are randomly against struck judges you like, well you won't get them. It leaves some very well known, experienced judges sitting in the lounge. Since the strikes are for the school, not the individual team, if a judge gets struck twice that means there are up to 12 teams they can't see (including the school that recruited the judge). That severely limits a judge on Friday and can all but remove the judge on Saturday if those schools do well.

 

I hope no one took my comment about freshman bias to say that freshman are uniquely biased. They aren't. But given the social community that debate is, they are much more likely to be friends with some teams or at least have the perception of being overtly biased. Imagine a team that isn't really social walking into a room and the judge and the opposition are talking about rounds from last year. Judges should be removed socially from the teams to try to reduce personnal feelings about the individuals. Just like we don't want your scout leader or deacon at church to judge you,we also want to remove the kids that you hug out with a debate camp. That isn't to say that those situations would happen all the time, but its easier to just avoid the situation. Its enough of a likelihood to outweigh the benefits that freshman bring to the judging pool.

 

My personnal suggestion would be to talk to your coach. TTNFL has a committee that will discuss making changes. To be blunt, coaches listen to coaches, not kids from other schools. Mind you if you are complaining that the results were flawed and the wrong kids went to nationals, that will be much less convincing than discussing the quality of the tournament and the experience of those there.

 

I don't know how you think I acted at the qualifier, but I guess I wasn't enough of a graceful loser. If you have a problem with the suggestions I proposed, then post them. Don't blame it on my "behavior at the qualifier", because quite frankly, I didn't do anything and it doesn't matter.

 

Coaches like Mr. Fowler, Mr. Skoglund, and Mr. Dubois, past debaters like Ciera, Amanda, Ideen, and Sam, and current debaters like Sarah, Zach, and myself are all offering suggestions that we think would make Kansas debate better. If you think allowing freshmen to judge, or implementing a strike system would have radically altered what happened at the qualifier this weekend, then say so. Don't make broad generalizations about what I did or didn't do at the qualifier.

 

It sounds like this year most of the "issues" are coming out of TTNFL. I haven't heard a lot of complaints from the other districts. So you aren't trying to make Kansas debate better, you are trying to make the TTNFL qualifying tournament better. Again, there are a lot of incredibly talentted kids in TTNFL. Someone was going to be disappointed. Make sure you are walking the fine line of putting your energy into making for a better tournament, not wishing to make the results of the tournament different. If you think the tournament was of low quality, that is an issue to be worked out among the coaches of TTNFL.

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Everything in this thread can be solved by one thing: bring the judges you want to be judged by or don't complain when you lose a lay/flay round (which is what half this thread is, people who think they should have quald complaining about quality of judges when someone else quals). Unless you make a change no one else will.

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Other districts in Kansas including Sunflower do use strikes, and Freshmen Judges (up until Quarters). It is not up to some perfect plan to fix your "problem" it is up to the district chair, and coaches to decide they want to change who evaluates the rounds. Ultimately if you want different people in the back of your room, talk to our coach, or district chair.

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I'll throw my hat in the ring, I don't think I have seen anything out of the flint hills. If I did, my bad.

 

In terms of first year (college freshmen) judges, we do not allow them, I believe that we adhere to the rule that you need to be at least 2 years out of high school. It tends to change the complexion of our judging pool based on what we have at the average invitational in the regional.

 

We also have a limited strike system. We have 3 strikes that are used across all of the entries from one school, they go into effect after round 1 (or 2, I honestly dont known). And then we utilize an additional strike from panels once we are into a "quarterfinals" situation.

 

I too want to say that I am impressed for the most part that this has been a well-reasoned discussion, with only a little mud slinging....but the drama is what kept me reading!

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